The Perfect Host: Our Guide to the Home Bar

We provide a breakdown of the essential items necessary to form the perfect home bar.

The home bar has once again become a key feature within our homes. Does this stem from our love for the Art Deco period of the 20s and 30s, or is it a reaction to London’s cocktail scene over the last decade? Either way, having an area where you can prepare the perfect Negroni or Vesper Martini is now expected.


The setting of the bar can vary, based on the space you have available and your budget. We present the 3 main options:

a) The Cabinet:

From David Linley’s extraordinary Tectonic Bar (winner of last years Masterpiece show) to Francis Sultana’s Deliana drink cabinet, this option is very much in vogue. Although this is the most expensive option, selected with the right amount of care this may prove to be a good investment.

We like this one from Amy Somerville:

b) The Drinks Trolley:

A throw back to the Mad Men era, the drinks trolley is a great way to inject some character and personality into a room. Our preference here would be for antique or mid century. A traditional brass and glass trolley (see below via Soane) would complement most rooms; whilst the more contemporary timber and brass cart by Jorge Zalsupin (via Espasso) provides more of a statement. 

 c) The Tray:

If you are lacking in space, a flat surface and a carefully chosen tray can still provide the organised setting needed for your bar area. The choice of tray should be not overly detailed – so as not to distract from the overall look. A dark tray in leather (Linley) is a sophisticated choice. For the more adventurous, this antique metal tray (like this one from 1st Dibs) will give you a conversation starting centrepiece.


The following items are integral to a well stocked bar:

Cocktail Shaker:

The device used to actually mix the drink and the centre piece to the tools. These can be quite different from one to the next, so invest in one that really stands out. We prefer them in brass, but stainless steel works just as well.

Cocktail Strainer:

The best option here is the hawthorn strainer as it is designed to fit with its mixing counterpart. As these two elements work together, you must ensure that the material match.

Cocktail Spoon:

Usually decorative and elegant, this device is essentially a long handled spoon. Its length ensures that it reaches the bottom of the a large jug or tumbler so that the cocktail can be directly mixed or layered.


This is the tool used for measuring. Usually presented as 2 cones – one to measure full shots and the other some a fraction or multiple.


The last of the essential tools. This is used for any cocktail that requires crushing or mashing of herbs or fruits.


This is crucially important to overall experience you are presenting your guests. This can vary, but usually extends to a decanter, tumblers, high balls and martini (stem). You will require only a couple of decanters, but for the glassware you will need between 6 to 8 of each type. These tumblers by Normann Copenhagen (via Skandium) are a stylish option. This decanter with leather and brass detailing by Simon Hasan (via Discover&Deliver), would also make a great starting point.

The Banda Journal